Government and Society in Malaysia

Harold Crouch
AUD $38.43
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Authoritative and up-to-date coverage of a country growing in importance in Asia by one of the leading authorities in the field.

The Malaysian political system incorporates a mix of democratic and authoritarian characteristics. In this comprehensive account, Harold Crouch argues that, while they may appear contradictory, the responsive and the repressive features of the system combine in an integrated and coherent whole.

Consistently dominated by the Malay party UMNO, which represents the largest ethnic group, the Malaysian government requires the support of its Chinese, Indian, and East Malaysian minorities to retain control. The need to appeal to a politically and ethnically divided electorate restrains the arbitary exercise of power by the ruling coalition. As a result, the government responds to popular aspirations, particularly since a split in the dominant Malay party in the 1980s. Yet it also controls the electoral process, ensuring victory in all national elections.

Communal, social, and economic factors have all contributed in rather ambiguous ways to shaping the Malaysian political system. Communal tensions, change in the class structure, and the consequences of economic growth have generated pressures in both democratic and authoritarian directions. The government has been remarkably stable despite sharp ethnic divisions and, Crouch suggests, it is unlikely to move swiftly toward full democracy in the near future.

'Harold Crouch has drawn effectively on his intimate knowledge of the country, based on extensive contacts built during a stay of over a decade and enhanced by his substantial comparative knowledge and experience, to develop subtly the controversial thesis that while civil society has expanded with economic development, as predicted by conventional political development theory, authoritarianism has been enhanced by executive ascendance in contemporary Malaysia.'

- K.S. Jomo, University of Malaya

Author bio:

Harold Crouch is senior fellow in the Dept of Political and Social Change Anu, and has spent over a decade in senior academic positions in Malaysia. He's the author of several books and numerous chapters in volumes on Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

Category: Reference
ISBN: 9781864481839
Table Of Contents: Preface



1. Ambiguous Regimes

2. Politics and Society before 1970


3. The Government

4. Opposition Parties and Elections

5. Political Controls

6. Contradictory Trends: Incremental Authoritarianism

7. Contradictory Trends: The UMNO Split and the 1990 Election

8. The Institutional Pillars of the State


9. Communal Identity and Consociationalism

10. The Evolving Class Structure

11. The Fragmented Business Class

12. Economic Growth, Industrialization, and Recession


13. A Repressive-Responsive Regime


Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: August 1996
Page Extent: 300
Format: Paperback - C format
Age: 0 - 0
Subject: Reference, information & interdisciplinary subjects